On July 12th 1983 the property, formerly known as the Elstree Clinic (a private hospital) was purchased. The building in Green Street, Shenley, situated in the Hertfordshire countryside north of Borehamwood, had once been a country residence. It had been rebuilt for use as a hospital, equipped with some forty large rooms, wide corridor and a lift. A smaller separate building had been added which served as a surgery. The property also included 25 acres of land.
In January 1984 the Borehamwood Post reported the forthcoming opening of the residential home for the elderly. On March 9th of that year the Spaghetti House and London’s Italian Trade Centre, hosted an event in which the case for Villa Scalabrini was presented. The audience included Sir Hugh Rossi MP, His Excellency Andrea Cagiati who was the Italian Ambassador in London, Father Sisto Caccia who was then the Superior of the Scalabrini Fathers, leading figures within the Italian community, representatives of various associations, and Italian bank managers.
In the meantime a committee had been formed with the aim of running a campaign for assistance and support for the Villa Scalabrini project. The committee, which met on January 8th 1984, was composed of Dr Alberto Zamblera (chairman), Comm. Serafino Fiori (president), Giovanni Cavaciuti, Cav. Uff. Florindo Rizzi (vice-president), Cav. Nino Avogadri (treasurer), Silvio Grossi (vice-chairman, Esperia Lewis (secretary).
TABLE OF EVENTS.
1982: Research reveals a need for a residential home for Italians living in Great Britain.
1983: Purchase of the property in Shenley and formation of the Villa Scalabrini Committee. Plans approved by the Hertsmere Planning Committee in September 1984.
1984: Request for financial backing from MEC is approved. Building works begin in December and are completed in June 1986.
1986: In July the first residents enter the home.
1988: March 20th – Official blessing by Cardinal Sebastiano Baggio.
1994: The property is extended. Second grant received from MEC.
1996-1997: Refurbishment of the original property.
23th May 1998: Official opening of Villa Scalabrini by the President of the Italian Republic Oscar Luigi Scalfaro
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